Oral teachings of Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche
and his spiritual sons

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Tara Practice
 

Tara Practice


Extracts from Chokling Tersar empowerment manuals of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo and the 15th Gyalwang Karmapa.

The venerable Arya Tara is the wisdom form of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions. In the ultimate sense she has since primordial time attained the state of original wakefulness that is the very essence of the female buddha Prajnaparamita. However, to portray her background in a way that ordinary disciples can comprehend, here is her story.
Long time ago, in a past aeon, in the world Myriad Lights, there was a buddha known as Drum Thunder. It was in the presence of this buddha that she was the princess Wisdom Moon and first formed the resolve to attain supreme enlightenment and here she took the oath to work for the welfare of all beings in the form of a woman until the whole of samsara is emptied.
In accordance with her vow, she practiced day and night and became able to liberate every day one hundred billion sentient beings from their mundane frame of mind and made them attain the ‘acceptance of the nonarising of all things.’. Through this she was given the name Arya Tara, the Sublime Savioress, the mere recalling of whose name invokes the blessings to dispel the of both samsara’s suffering and the shortcomings of the passive state of nirvana.
After that she took the vow in front of Buddha Amoghasiddhi to protect the beings of the ten directions from fear and all kinds of harm. At another occasion, she acted as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara’s wisdom in order to assist him in working for the liberation of all beings. In this way, her life examples surpass the reach of ordinary thought.
Particularly in this world, during the Golden Age the compassionate Avalokiteshvara taught one hundred million Vajrayana tantras of Tara on Mount Potala in India, and has continued up through this Age of Strife to teach medium and concise version that accord with people’s capacity.
These practices pacify the eight and sixteen types of fear and causes a wishfulfilling attainment of all needs and aims. Ultimately one can realize the wisdom body of Mahamudra. There are innumerable wonderful stories of past practitioners to support this.
In short, since Arya Tara is the activity of all buddhas embodied in a single form, her blessings are swifter than that of any other deity. Most of the learned and accomplished masters of India and Tibet kept her as their main practice and attained siddhi. That is why we today have such a boundless supply of practices and instructions of Arya Tara.

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The Tara practice performed by the nuns at Nangkyi Gompa was established by Kyabje Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche and his wife Ma-Yum Kunsang Dechen. Before this, the nuns would yearly go down to valley to beg for alms to sustain themselves. Later on, as Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche says, “Through the blessings of Arya Tara, the nuns have received support enough to remain at the Nangkyi hermitage and continue their practices.”
The Tara practice involves the Praises to the 21 Taras to protect against 21 types of harmful influences. Here is a list based on Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo’s writings.
The White Pacifying Tara: she protects from general decline in the world and beings, adversity, attack from physical and immaterial beings, sickness, evil influence, curse, black magic, strife, and conceptual thinking.
Bhagavati Vajra Tara who Protects Against Harm from the Earth: she protects from earthquake and avalanche in the outside world, as well as inner sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotion pride.
The Red Tara who Protects Against Harm from Water: she protects from harm from water in outside world, flooding, shipwreck, polluted drinking water, and drowning, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotion desire.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Fire: she protects from harm from fire in outside world, wildfire, arson, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotion anger.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Wind: she protects from harm from wind in outside world, hurricane, and storms caused by evil spirits, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotion jealousy.
The Yellow Tara of Enrichment: she increases all kinds of prosperity and wealth in the world, as well as intelligence, eloquence, and so forth.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Meteors, Lightning and Hailstorm: she protects from harm caused by evil spirits or curses in the form of meteors, hailstorm, lightning, violent rainstorm, snow damage, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotions desire, hatred, and envy.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Weapons: she protects from warfare and fighting in the outside world, persecution from an oppressor, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotions anger and jealousy.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Tyrants: she protects from hostility, imprisonment and punishment by rulers, governors, and chieftains in the outside world, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotions hatred, conceit, craving, and envy.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Banditry: she protects from robbery, theft, and murder by bandits, robbers or thieves in the outside world, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotions jealousy, desire, anger and greed.
The Tara of Magnetizing: she protects from the suffering of mastering external phenomena and the prana-mind within, as well as giving mastery over all needs and aims.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Spirits: she protects from the three types of evil spirits in the outside world, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the eight classes of demons.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Elephants: she protects from attacks by fierce and powerful animals, elephants, horses, buffaloes, domestic and wild, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotions arrogance and ferocity.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Lions: she protects from attacks from lions, tigers, leopards, bears, wolves and jackals, in the outside world, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotions anger, craving, envy, and haughtiness.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Snakes: she protects from attacks by vipers, spiders, scorpions, rabid dogs and other kinds of toxic harms, as well as sickness and evil influence caused by the disturbing emotions dullness, ill-will, covetousness, and wrong views.
The Black Subjugating Tara: she protects against all kinds of black magic, curses, spells, and epidemics, evil forces, material as well as immaterial.
The Tara who Protects Against Harm from Disease: she pacifies sickness causes by the environment, plants and so forth, and especially by imbalance in the elements in the body, as well as protecting against illness, contagious disease and evil influences created by 21,000 inner disturbances.
The Tara who Protects Against Fear of Death: she protects from direct and indirect attacks from opponents in the outside world that prevent maintaining a spiritual life, as well as the inner flow of deluded thinking that creates fear of not being able to sustain oneself.
The Tara who Protects Against Fear of Poverty: she protects from decline in prosperity, economy, and the ten virtuous actions in the outside world, as well as from the suffering of poverty created by miserliness, envy and craving.
The Tara who Protects Against Fear of Failure: she protects from unsuccessful endeavors in business, farming or any other project in the outside world, as well as the worry, misery, and mental pain caused by attachment and anger, competitiveness and indecision.

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